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Pakistan says new policy to be evolved to stop US drone strikes


08:18, June 19, 2013

ISLAMABAD, June 18 (Xinhua) - The Pakistani parliament was told on Tuesday that a new policy is being evolved to stop the US drone attacks in the country's tribal regions.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz said the National Assembly the new government is working seriously to bring an end to drone attacks.

The opposition law maker Dr.Shireen Mazari and several other lawmakers had raised the issue of drone strikes and sought details about the new government policy to deal with the US spy aircraft.

The US drones routinely fire missiles into Waziristan tribal region despite Pakistan's opposition, which the US claims is a key to its so-called war on terror.

The United States alleges that the militants use Pakistan's Waziristan tribal region for planning attacks across the border into Afghanistan on the US-led NATO and Afghan forces.

Nearly 13 people were killed in two US strikes in North Waziristan this month.The Pakistani advisor told the National Assembly that the government has already conveyed serious concerns to the United States over drone strikes and it will continue to raise the issue at all the forums. "US Secretary of State John Kerry is likely to visit Pakistan next month and the issue will be raised with him," Aziz said.

He said Pakistan has adopted a clear policy on drone strikes, which are counter-productive in countering the menace of terrorism, adding the drone strikes are in contravention of sovereignty and national integrity.

The Advisor said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his first speech to the House had categorically demanded an end to the drone strikes. He said Pakistan also lodged a strong protest with the US on 7th June against the drone strike.

Giving details of the number of drone strikes carried out on Pakistani territory the Advisor to Prime Minister said that one hundred and fifteen drone attacks were carried out in 2010, sixty- two in 2011 and forty-five in 2012.

Thirteen attacks have been carried out so far this year. He said one drone attack was carried out after the assumption of office of the present government. Instead of pursuing the policy of threat, we need to resolve this issue through talks.

Sartaj Aziz noted that these drone strikes are also creating hindrance in forging better relations with the United States. He said that Pakistan will raise this issue at high levels with the US and hoped that it would succeed in bringing an end to these strikes.

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